Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
I pray you are knowing and spending time with your King the Lord Jesus Christ this week. And God has given us the wonderful gift of prayer so that we can commune with Him. What freedom of access we have to our Heavenly Father in the gift of prayer. What is one reality that unites all the great figures of Scripture?? They were all men and women of prayer. Abraham, Moses, David, Hannah, etc. Spending time with the Lord in prayer was second-nature to them. It was who they were and what they did. Dear friends, may we be people of prayer and may we be a church of prayer. I would encourage you to take the weekly prayer list and use it to help guide your time with the Lord.
- Our Vos theology group will meet next Wednesday at 7:00PM. Location TBA.
- Pray for our session as we meet next Tuesday to discuss the business of the church.
- This week in our series, “Great Truths of the Faith,” we will be considering the doctrine of election. We will begin promptly at 9:45.
- This week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Numbers 17 on Aaron’s budding staff.
God bless and I look forward to seeing you and to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Budding Staff”
Numbers 17:8, “On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.”
God is holy, and we are not. How then can we approach him? Who can approach him? Who is able to approach the throne of God? This is the question that forms the context of Numbers 17. God has redeemed his people from their slavery in Egypt – but due to their sin (Numbers 13-14) they are prohibited from entering the Promised Land and must wander for forty years in the wilderness. The people of God, however, continue to complain and to grumble against Yahweh and his chosen servants, Moses and Aaron. Specifically in chapter 16 (Numbers 16-17 form a single literary unit), the people complain against the high-priesthood of Aaron and the unique mediatorship of Moses: “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy (Num 16:3-4).” In other words, why is it only the Aaronic high priest who is permitted special access to the Lord in the tabernacle? The Lord affirmed his choice of Moses and Aaron and consumed the rebellious (16:12-40). But Israel continued to grumble (16:41ff) thus prompting another public display of God’s choice of Moses and Aaron as his unique servants to lead his people.
A staff representing each tribe is placed before the Ark of the Covenant (17:1-4); and the Lord will cause to sprout the staff of the man he chooses to possess the right to approach him (v. 5). The next day Moses enters the tent and “behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds (v. 8).” Overnight, Aaron’s staff produced full-grown vegetation – indeed a sovereign, supernatural work of God. And how did the people respond, “And the people of Israel said to Moses, ‘Behold, we perish, we are undone we are all undone. Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the Lord, shall die. Are we all to perish (vv. 12-13)?’” The people rightfully understand that they are unworthy to enter before the presence of the Lord. It is only God’s chosen servant – the priests from the tribe of Levi – who may approach God. And these priests will represent the people as they prepare the specified offerings. Numbers 16 and 17 are two episodes setting forth the same truth – we cannot approach God however we wish, but God has appointed the manner and the one through whom his people may approach him.
Brothers and sisters, we miss the full weight of this passage if we do not see it pointing us to the greater high priest who gives us access to the presence of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the role of Aaron as a mediator between a holy God and a sinful people substantiated in Numbers 16-17 prefigures the high-priestly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. For Aaron would soon die, and his sons will take his place. But his sons will die, and their sons will take their place; and on and on. But the glorious reality is that Christ has come who is a high priest forever. And he is interceding for his people (Heb 7:25). And because of his perfect, finished work, we now have access into the heavenly Holy Place, the very throne room of God (10:19-20). Indeed in Christ we have glorious freedom to approach our Heavenly father – and our access is permanent, substantive, and eternal (Heb 4:14-16).